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It's Good to be King! Or is it?

He could just be any other guy, ya know. He's 30 years old, went to school in England, and just happens to the son of the King of a small African country and the Queen Mother, one of his father's 80 wives. When King Sohuza II died, the Queen ruled until Maswati III reached age 18. At the time, he was the youngest ruling king in the world. So, instead of becoming, say, a banker or an auto mechanic, Maswati III became the King of Swaziland, the tiny country where Shawn and I have been for the last week. (See Traveling in Fairyland: Visiting Swaziland's Colorful Culture and Wildlife)

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Why are thousands of women marching towards the palace?
Shawn and I saw the King at the Lusango Reed Ceremony at his palace. His Highness didn't seem any different from the other men, except that he had three red feathers sticking out from his hair, and everyone was watching him.

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Oh, to be King for a day!
Think about it, knowing your whole life growing up that you will soon be the King! That seems like a lot of pressure for a kid, doesn't it? Can you imagine: "Sorry, Tommy, I can't come out to play. I have to study my world history so that I don't repeat the mistakes of the past and see my entire country fall into a huge war!" How would you treat a kid in your class who was to be the King?

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Phephile, with her friend Tim, says the King keeps the peace.
I decided to ask the Swazis what they think about their King.

Phephile, an eleven-year-old I met walking home from school, said, "It is good having a King, because then he rules your country and there is peace and order."

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Dudu is a fan of King Maswati
Dudu, a friendly woman selling avocados, told me "Oh, he is a good King. In our country our Kings are born. The people do not just vote and pick any man. He talks to everybody in Swaziland. If you have a problem, you can go to the King."

But one man told me, "Really, I think it is the Queen Mother who rules Swaziland." I mean, he may be King, but his mom is still his mom. And you have to listen to your mom, right?

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I asked my friend Mbuso if he would like to be king. He smiled shyly and looked down, "It would be nice to be king. Everyone respects the King."

I do envy the King, but the more I think about it, I don't think I'd want to be King, with all the pressure, responsibility and rules. Would you want to be King? It's good to be a World Trekker!


Kevin - 202 Smiles at the End of a School Day

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